What is the Difference Between a Direct & Indirect Kick?
Many parents often wonder, “What is the difference between a direct and indirect kick in soccer.” And, rightfully so. It can be confusing! Here’s your answer…
- Direct kick in soccer: a direct kick is a free kick that can be taken by a player from the team that was fouled. It is awarded when a player commits a foul against an opponent, such as tripping, pushing, or holding. The direct kick allows the team to take an unobstructed shot at the opposing team’s goal, and the opposing team must stay at least 10 yards away from the ball until it is kicked. If the ball goes directly into the goal from the kick, it is counted as a goal.
- Indirect kick in soccer: an indirect kick is a free kick that is awarded to a team when an opposing player commits a less serious foul, such as dangerous play, obstruction, or offside. Unlike a direct kick, an indirect kick cannot be taken directly into the goal to score. Instead, another player must touch the ball before it can be counted as a goal.
Key Takeaways From This Article:
- A player can score from a direct kick.
- A player cannot score from an indirect kick. It will have to touch another player before a goal can count.
- Different types of fouls or offenses determine whether a referee awards a direct or indirect kick.
Soccer is a game of strategy and skill, and one of the most important aspects of the game is the free kick. A free kick is awarded to a team when an opposing player commits a foul, and it can be a direct or indirect free kick.
In this article, we will explore the differences between direct and indirect free kicks in soccer and how they can impact the game.
What is a Direct Free Kick?
Definition of a Direct Kick
A direct free kick is a type of free kick in soccer where the player taking the kick can score a goal without the ball touching any other player.
This is in contrast to an indirect free kick, where a goal cannot be scored unless the ball touches another player before entering the goal.
When is a Direct Kick Awarded?
A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team when a player commits a foul that is deemed dangerous. This can include tripping, pushing, or holding an opponent, as well as dangerous tackles, handballs, and other infractions.
A direct free kick can also be awarded if a player commits a handball offense.
How is it Taken?
The player taking the direct free kick must place the ball on the ground at the spot where the foul occurred.
The opposing team must be at least 10 yards away from the ball until it is kicked.
After the referee’s whistle, the player taking the kick can then either shoot directly at the goal or pass the ball to a teammate.
If the ball goes out of play or a goal is scored, the game will resume with a goal kick or kick-off, respectively.
Can a Goal Be Scored off a Direct Kick?
Yes! If the ball enters the goal directly from a direct free kick, a goal is awarded to the team taking the kick.
If the ball touches another player before entering the goal, the goal is still allowed.
If the ball hits the post or crossbar and bounces back into play, the game will continue until the ball goes out of play or a goal is scored.
In conclusion, a direct free kick is awarded for serious fouls and other infractions, and the player taking the kick has the opportunity to shoot directly at the goal or pass to a teammate. However, it is important to remember that a goal can only be scored if the ball enters the goal directly, without touching any other player.
[Bonus] Here are some great examples of free kicks taken over the course of soccer history!
What is an Indirect Free Kick?
Definition of an Indirect Kick
An indirect free kick is a type of free kick awarded to a team for a non-foul offense committed by the opposing team.
Unlike a direct free kick, an indirect free kick cannot result in a goal unless it is touched by another player before crossing the goal line.
Similarly to a direct kick, the opposing team must also be at least 10 yards away from the ball when the kick is taken.
When is an Indirect Kick Awarded?
An indirect free kick is awarded for non-foul offenses such as offside, obstruction, offensive language on the field or sidelines, and other technical offenses.
It can also be awarded for a foul committed by the goalkeeper inside their own penalty area, such as holding onto the ball for more than six seconds or handling the ball after it was passed back to them by a teammate.
How is it Taken?
The ball must be stationary when the kick is taken, and the referee will blow their whistle to signal the start of play.
The kicker must touch the ball before another player can touch it, and the ball must move a visible distance before another player can touch it.
A strategy most teams implement is a quick and short touch by a player. Subsequently, another offensive player either passes or shoots it.
The opposing team must also be at least 10 yards away from the ball when the kick is taken.
Can a Goal Be Scored off an Indirect Kick?
If the ball goes directly into the goal from an indirect free kick without being touched by another player, the goal is disallowed, and a goal kick is awarded to the opposing team.
However, if the ball is touched by another field player or goalie before crossing the goal line, the goal is allowed, and the player who touched the ball last is credited with the goal.
[Bonus] Here’s some amazing indirect free kicks taken by the pros…
Differences Between Offsenses for Direct and Indirect Kicks
Here are the main differences in offenses that lead to direct or indirect kicks:
Direct kicks are awarded when committing these types of fouls:
- Deliberately kicking an opponent
- Deliberately tripping an opponent
- Charging at an opponent
- Jumping toward an opponent in an aggressive manner
- Pushing or tackling an opponent with the upper body
Indirect kicks are awarded when players are called for a:
- Offside penalty
- Dangerous play
- Play that impedes an opponent without making contact
- Using offensive, insulting, or abusive language, actions, or other verbal offenses
- Jumping in front of the goalie to prevent them from kicking or throwing the ball
- Passing it back to the keeper
To get more acclimated to the soccer rules, check out our article ‘Soccer Rules & Regulations: The 17 Laws of the Game‘.
A Word on Free Kicks (Not an Easy Button)
Many parents think that free kicks are easy. Like a free throw in basketball, they should result in a score. This is far from the case! When teams have their entire defense on the other side of the ball to defend, scoring on a direct or indirect kick is very challenging.
For direct free kicks, if a player is close enough to score, I think the best path is to identify a gap and shoot with precise power. Take a few steps back, line yourself up directly with the goal, and let it fly.
For indirect kicks, quickly work on a strategy between a few other players. It could be a tap it in or it could be lofted into the goal for a teammate to pursue. This type of free kick definitely requires some strategy.
For those on the sidelines, let’s not forget that this isn’t an easy goal to score!
Understanding the difference between direct and indirect free kicks is essential for anyone who wants to enjoy soccer.
Direct free kicks are awarded for more serious fouls, such as tripping, pushing, or holding, and can be taken directly at the goal.
Indirect free kicks, on the other hand, are awarded for less serious fouls, such as obstruction or dangerous play, and require the ball to touch another player before it can be scored.
It is important to note that the rules for direct and indirect free kicks can vary depending on the level of play and the specific league or tournament.
Understanding the difference between direct and indirect free kicks is just one of the many aspects of soccer that makes the game so exciting and enjoyable.
Whether you are a player or a parent of a youth soccer player, taking the time to learn the rules and regulations of the game can help you appreciate the beauty and complexity of this ‘beautiful game’.
Frequently Asked Questions
A corner kick is a direct free kick since it can be scored without any other player touching it first. I’ve seen players swing in corner kicks right above the goalie’s fingertips. It’s a game-changer!
A handball is usually considered a direct kick.